With a coastline of over 8000 km, two major island chains, and an Exclusive Economic Zone of over 2.20 million square kilometer, India is host to a wide array of marine and coastal ecosystems, ranging from mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass, intertidal habitats, sandy and rocky beaches, estuaries and salt marshes, that hosts an astonishing variety of biodiversity. These ecosystems are also critical sources of livelihood and food security for over 30% of our nation’s population.

India has 936 species of marine algae, 2000 species of molluscs, 388 species of sea slugs, 38 species of lobsters and 120 species of hermit crabs. We have 15000 species of sponges and 627 species of hard corals. The oceans around us are home to a total of 2618 species of fish from coastal and marine ecosystems. The Lakshadweep Islands alone have recorded more than 603 species (Jones and Kumaran 1980) and 1000 species have been reported from Andaman & Nicobar Islands. A total of 55 species of commercial shrimps and prawns have been recorded in India, the east coast of India contributes to 24.5% and west coast contributes to 75.3% to the country’s production as wild caught.

Five species of sea turtles have been reported from Indian waters. Of these, leatherbacks have been recorded to travel over 4000 km to nest on Great Nicobar Islands. Additionally, India has one of the largest mass nesting beaches of Olive Ridleys in Odisha. Indian seas support over 25 different species of marine mammals; many  of these are oceanic forms and are frequently stranded on shores. All marine mammal species are protected by the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Currently, India contributes to 7.33% of global marine biodiversity, however, there is a potential for further exploration and taxonomic studies may reveal more new species.

India’s marine biodiversity is of great ecological value, however, indiscriminate exploitation of its resources has threatened several species to the point of extinction and inflicted irreversible habitat degradation. Threats such as seabed mining, overfishing, illegal fishing, unsustainable aquaculture, pollution etc. need to be urgently addressed.

We have been working across a range of issues such as fisheries management, Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, habitat degradation, illegal wildlife trade, unsustainable tourism and plastic pollution to ensure that India’s marine and coastal biodiversity is conserved and managed sustainably, contributing to enhanced ecosystem resilience and sustainable livelihoods.


WORK AREAS

To develop a structured approach to marine conservation we identified the following thematic areas for our work:

Our marine team

WWF-INDIA MARINE TEAM

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SEJAL

Programme Director

SEJAL

Programme Director, WWF-India

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VINOD

Team Lead

VINOD

With over 25 years of experience in the marine field, Vinod has been instrumental in driving the adoption of sustainable fishing practises and developing coastal developmental policies in the country and currently leads the Oceans & Coasts programme.

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FARIDA

Coordinator

FARIDA

Coordinator, Marine Programme

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MICHAEL

Senior Programme Coordinator

MICHAEL

Michael looks after marine related projects in Odisha and actively interacts with communities to sensitize them on wildlife conservation. He is also involved in conservation of marine turtles and dolphins and takes an avid interest in wildlife photography.

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CORALIE

Programme Coordinator

CORALIE

Coralie currently manages WWF-India’s Marine Program office in Goa and works on cetaceans, turtles, marine and coastal tourism, coastal communities, fisheries, global fish nutrition and food security, fisheries subsidies, and marine policy.

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SUMER

Programme Officer

SUMER

Sumer is a marine biologist who tackles issues related to the management of ghost gear and Marine Protected Areas. He is a dive professional and once worked with a dive school in the South Andaman Islands. Sumer is a passionate birder who also enjoys an occasional game of squash.

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SARVANAN

Coordinator

SARVANAN

Coordinator, Marine Programme

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PRAVIN

Programme Officer

PRAVIN

Passionate about protecting the coast and oceans so that everyone can enjoy its beauty Pravin works on our Fish forward project to ensure the sustainability of seafood exported from India.

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DHAVAL

Programme Officer

DHAVAL

Dhaval works to conserve sharks in Gujarat and has completed his Masters in Fisheries Science from Junagdh Agricultural University. Being from the community he is passionate about fishing and enjoys spending time onboard during fishing trips.

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TABITHA

Communications Officer

TABITHA

Tabitha addresses communications needs of the marine programme. She worked in several industries before zeroing in on conservation and enjoys doodling and attempting to keep plants alive.

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SNEHA

Programme Officer

SNEHA

Sneha helps us tackle the impacts of ghost gear on marine turtles in Andhra Pradesh. she is super passionate about marine mammals and is also an excellent scuba diver and once spent four months on the Andaman Islands, researching about fish commoditization.

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SADHWI

SADHWI

Sadhwi is a marine biologist with her interest focused on Marine conservation. She has the experience in working with Turtles, Coral reefs and Sharks. Her Scuba Diver certification along with her capacity for travelling has become a part of her being. On a holiday she loves to grab her cruiser bike and go for long rides.